News

Federal Court asked to rule on pickers' wage row

LAWYERS have argued that an Applethorpe farm did not set up a sham arrangement to avoid paying workers more than $10,000 in overtime in what could be a test case for the fruit and vegetable industry.

Eastern Colour farm is accused of setting up two labour hire companies to transfer four farm workers from one company to another after they had each worked 40 hours in a week.

Barrister Warren Friend, for Eastern Colour, said the case should fail because the Fair Work Ombudsman had taken action against Eastern Colour when the fruit packers were employed under separate companies, SB Employments and NB Employments.

He told the Federal Court in Brisbane yesterday that even if the court looked further, the labour hire company structure was common in the industry.

Mr Friend said it was seasonal work and people would elect to work more than 40 hours a week at ordinary pay rates instead of knocking on the door of the next farm down the road to get more hours.

"What occurred is a well-recognised aspect of work in this field of fruit picking," he said.

"This is not a sham arrangement to avoid (paying) overtime.

"If there's a business rationale for it, and the business rationale isn't to avoid award obligations, then it's not a sham."

Justice Berna Collier questioned whether common use in the industry could make the practice legal.

"I draw a hesitant inference that this is a test case," she said, suggesting Fair Work could use a successful outcome in this case for further action.

Barrister Geoffrey Phillips SC, for Fair Work, said the two labour hire companies were merely payroll companies, "nothing but a shell", and could not be defined as businesses.

"We say confidently when you look at all the evidence in this case ... at all times Eastern Colour was the employer," he said.

Mr Phillips said there was a regular turnover of labour hire companies to suit the Baronio family but the workers still wore the Eastern Colour farm T-shirts, signs, stickers and boxes.

Original documents lodged with the court in 2010 alleged three packers and one fork-lift driver were denied $13,719 in overtime payments but the total underpayment could be more than $19,000 because they did not meet minimum hourly rates or pay public holiday rates.

Justice Collier has reserved her decision.

Topics:  wages



How to survive a bushfire in your car

IT SOUNDS like a nightmare, but it can happen.

Eight reasons to join the RFS

SPREAD across 93% of Queensland, the Rural Fire Service has about 36,000 volunteers. And you could be one of them.

What if my insurer gives me grief?

CLAIMING your insurance cover after a natural disaster can go one of two ways. It can be a breeze, or like pulling teeth.

Beloved Scots PGC teachers say farewell

SAD FAREWELL: Noela Ensbey, Lou Keevers and Liz Bowen have left their legacy at Scots PGC.

THREE of Scots PGC College's teachers have hung up their hats.

Yangan artist paints pretty picture with a can

PAINT PRODIGY: Jessica Welsh uses spray paint and tools to make her art.

Artist Jessica Welsh is proving there's no age limit to innovation.

VIDEO: Driver arrested after Killarney crash

Police say they have some questions for her.

Local Partners

Smart new app for learner drivers

A BRAND new smartphone app could make getting a licence a lot safer and easier for learner drivers across the nation.


Creekside Carols are all set to thrill Allora crowd

Chad Wilson, Sarah and Stacey Turner, Greta Barton and Jo Denny at the Allora's Creekside Carols under the Stars   



Photo Deanna Millard / Daily News

ALLORA'S Creekside Carols are on tomorrow night

Events you need to be at this week...

Warwick Volleyball Ladies grand finalists Grinners (back, from left) Lisa Bergemann, Rachel King and Allyne Waters (front) Awesome team members Emma Lowe, Lydia Wallace and Mandy Aspinall after the first season finals this year.

Touch, volleyball and cricket have major events in the next week

Mitchell Shield between Warwick and Stanthorpe

LOCAL DERBY: Stanthorpe captain Ben Staley with the Hendry Bourke Trophy for cricket supremacy between Warwick and Stanthorpe after a victory at Slade Park two years ago.

Warwick will host Stanthorpe in local derbies

Jennifer Lawrence gives keys to new partner

Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence

Oscar winner settling down with new partner

Rogue One star proud to lead new Star Wars film

Felicity Jones leads the new Star Wars film

Star Wars lead proud to be in front in sci-fi

What's on the small screen this week

Ernie Dingo stars in the TV series Going Places with Ernie Dingo.

ERNIE Dingo stars in a new travel series and Seven airs the AACTAs.

Mandy Moore feels like she's 60

Mandy Moore sees herself as a 60-year-old rather than a 32-year-old

Goooodbye Hamish and Andy (from our radios)

Hamish and Andy

The pair have been on air since 2006

David Attenborough on facing his mortality

Sir David Attenborough in a scene from the TV special The Death of the Oceans.

Life without Sir David Attenborough is hard to imagine

INSIDE STORY: Disused pipeline stops hundreds from building

TRAIL OF TEARS: Route of the disused Santos oil pipeline which is stopping hundreds of Ipswich residents from building.

Santos responds but Tully says easements issue must be addressed

Chinese locked out of Australian property market

The rules are different if you're a foreigner

The buyer was from China - the trouble started right there

Morrison signs off on new affordable rental model

Australia's Treasurer Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Federal Financial Relations at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

Scott Morrison signed off on development of a new financing model

Evicted from their own land: red tape tangles up family's plans

HOME WOES: Carl Murray says his family was evicted from their own property.

Owning their own land wasn't the biggest hurdle for this family

Coast high-flyer's fight back from bankruptcy, $72m debt

Scott Juniper went from millionaire developer to declaring bankruptcy in2012, now he is back on top of his game again with new developments including this one in Coolum.

'Apocalyptic lending storm' causes financial collapse.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!